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News News WA introduces legislation to protect young workers
Western Australia has joined NSW and Queensland in legislating to increase the rights and entitlements of young workers covered by Work Choices.

The Industrial and Related Legislation Amendment Bill 2007 - introduced into Parliament yesterday by WA Employment Protection Minister Michelle Roberts - amends the state Children and Community Services Act 2004 to:
require constitutional corporations who employ children to comply with state award conditions prescribed in regulations (the statutory minima), such as wages, meal breaks, overtime and allowances;
require those hiring children as independent contractors to also comply with the statutory minima;
enable industrial inspectors to investigate suspected breaches of the statutory minima and to take enforcement proceedings to the WA IRC, with unions also able to take enforcement proceedings;
restrict unpaid trial work involving children to one day per calendar year; and
enable children employed by constitutional corporations to bring unfair dismissal and denial of contractual benefits claims in the WAIRC.

The bill also amends the Workers' Compensation and Injury Management Act 1981 and the OHS Act to provide protection for injured workers if they were dismissed within a specified period, and for those who raised safety concerns and were subsequently discriminated against.

And, it amends the Magistrates Court (Civil Proceedings) Act 2004 to enable the court to hear employment-related claims, and enable the WA IRC to mediate employment related claims, while it also expands the WA IRC's denied contractual benefits jurisdiction under the state IR Act to include any denied benefit under the contract of employment - not just those that constitute "industrial matters".

A new piece of legislation - the Employment Dispute Resolution Bill 2007 - will enable the WAIRC to conduct alternative dispute resolution and mediation by agreement of the parties, as an informal and user-friendly dispute resolution mechanism, while another new bill - the Contractual Benefits Bill 2007 will enable employees of constitutional corporations to enforce denied contractual benefits in the WA IRC.

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